Mickey Roker

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Mickey Roker
Mickey Roker & Dizzy Gillespie 2.jpg
Left to right: Mickey Roker, Ben Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, and a hidden Rodney Jones in Buffalo, N.Y. 1977
Background information
Birth name Granville William Roker
Born (1932-03-09) March 9, 1932 (age 82)
Miami, Florida, USA
Genres Jazz, hard bop, bebop
Occupations Drummer
Instruments Drums
Associated acts Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Duke Pearson, Tommy Flanagan, Ella Fitzgerald, Zoot Sims, Horace Silver, Junior Mance, Sarah Vaughan, Milt Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Phil Woods, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Bucky Pizzarelli, Stanley Turrentine, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Locke, many more

Granville William "Mickey" Roker (born March 9, 1932) is an American jazz drummer.

Biography[edit]

Roker was born into extreme poverty in Miami to Granville (Sr.) and Willie Mae Roker. After his mother died (his father never lived with them), when he was only ten, he was taken by his grandmother to live in Philadelphia with his uncle Walter, who gave him his first drum kit and communicated his love of jazz to his nephew. He also introduced the young Roker to the lively jazz scene in Philadelphia, where the great Philly Joe Jones became Roker's idol.

Roker learned quickly, and he never stopped playing. In the early 1950s he started to gain recognition as a sensitive yet hard-driving big-band drummer. Especially favored by Dizzy Gillespie—who remarked of him that "once he sets a groove, whatever it is, you can go to Paris and come back and it's right there. You never have to worry about it"—[1]Roker was soon in demand for his supportive skills in both big-band and small-group settings. While in Philadelphia played with Jimmy Oliver, Jimmy Heath, Jimmy Divine, King James and Sam Reed before moving to New York in 1959, where his first gigs were with Gigi Gryce, Ray Bryant, Joe Williams-Junior Mance, Nancy Wilson and the Duke Pearson big band.[1]

In 1992, he replaced Connie Kay in the Modern Jazz Quartet.[1]

Still active on the Philadelphia scene in the 21st century, Roker has recorded with Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Duke Pearson, Tommy Flanagan, Ella Fitzgerald, Zoot Sims, Horace Silver, Junior Mance, Sarah Vaughan, Milt Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Phil Woods, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, Bucky Pizzarelli, Stanley Turrentine, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hank Jones, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Locke, and many other jazz greats.

Discography[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With Art Farmer

With Frank Foster

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Gigi Gryce

With Herbie Hancock

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Milt Jackson

With Willis Jackson

With Charles Kynard

With Mike Longo

  • Funkia (GrooveMerchant, 1973)

With Junior Mance

With Blue Mitchell

With the Modern Jazz Quartet

With Lee Morgan

With Duke Pearson

With Sonny Rollins

With Shirley Scott

With Horace Silver

With Stanley Turrentine

With McCoy Tyner

With Cedar Walton

References[edit]

External links[edit]